Six Sigma is a business management strategy originally developed by Motorola in the 1980s that helped the company realize $16-billion in savings by reexamining its internal processes.

What is Lean? Lean manufacturing is a generic process management philosophy derived mostly from the Toyota production system in the 1990s. It is renowned for its focus on reduction of waste to improve overall customer value.

Lean Six Sigma combines the speed improvements that come from using Lean principles with the quality improvements that come from using Six Sigma. Lean focuses on improving the speed of a process and the elimination of non-value added steps. Six Sigma is a disciplined, data-driven approach and methodology for eliminating errors in any process-including transactional and service processes.

The basic Six Segma tenets are:

  • Emphasizes the need to recognize opportunities and eliminate defects as defined by customers
  • Recognizes that variation hinders the ability to reliably deliver high-quality services
  • Requires data-driven decisions and incorporates a comprehensive set of quality tools under a powerful framework for effective problem solving
  • Provides a highly prescriptive cultural infrastructure effective in obtaining sustainable results

The basic Lean tenets are:

  • Focuses on maximizing process speed
  • Provides tools for analyzing process flow and delay times at each activity in a process
  • Centers on the separation of "value-added" from "non-value-added" work with tools to eliminate the root causes of non-valued activities and their cost.

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